Education debt relief is an effective way to closen the racial wealth gap, kickstart the economy, and empower young people throughout the country. In May, the administration canceled student loans for around half a million students who attended a for-profit institution, the largest student debt cancellation action so far. Nonetheless, some 45 million borrowers remain in crippling debt that has prevented young people from participating in the economy and reaching their maximum potential.
OSA is dedicated to fighting for the freedom and education for every young person. In April, we stood alongside students throughout the country to show our support for education debt cancellation in DC. OSA members traveled and met up with a variety of organizations including fellow organizations part of the Alliance for Youth Action network. The same month OSA members met in Columbus for a team retreat and skill building.
At the chapter level, different OSA chapters have been doing research on campus policing and pursuing real justice for our communities. For instance, during the spring semester our Cleveland State team held a student campus policing survey which was filled out by hundreds of respondents and took the time to better understand the experiences of students with police and considering their input on topics such as budgeting and accountability. By the conclusion of finals, end of semester OSA celebrations across Ohio had plenty to reflect on including the considerable growth of chapters and the valuable work they have been doing.
Over the spring semester and continuing in summer, we have worked with the Honesty for Ohio Education organization to hold testimony workshops to help students advocate for a fair and honest presentation of history and concepts in school. This has meant showing up against Ohio’s version of ‘Don’t Say Gay’ with HB616. Young Ohioans deserve an honest and accurate education that includes and honors all of our experiences, no matter our race or background. They deserve more than being stuck in a learning environment where their identity and experience are denied and erased.
Looking forward, we are excited to continue to connect young people to empower and amplify their voices. This includes ongoing efforts to research and create a Black Student Equity Report which will include conducting focus groups and qualitative interviews. Moreover, we are continuing to support members through an ongoing summer fellowship that includes college students and graduates throughout the state. This is a valuable opportunity for our talented new leaders to build new skills, plan & organize direct actions, and hold insightful conversations around power-building and engaging in our democracy. More importantly, these leaders will also be trained on the essential concepts of redistricting and how to advocate for fair maps. We are excited about the potential of our new leaders and look forward to developing their power-building and strategic skills in the months to come.
Recent media coverage:
- Afropunk: HB 616, Ohio’s “Don’t Say Gay” Bill, And How Black Young People Are Fighting Back
- USA Today: Biden hasn’t forgiven student loan debt. Advocates warn it could hurt Dems in elections.
- Akron Beacon Journal: Kent, UA student protestors: ‘Divisive concepts’ bill designed to comfort white people
- Ideastream: University of Akron and Kent State students rally against ‘divisive concepts’ bill